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The Judicial Cadre Evaluation System in China: From Quantification to Intra-state Legibility

  • Jonathan J. Kinkel (a1) and William J. Hurst (a2)

Performance evaluation systems fundamentally shape the behaviour of Chinese judges, but scholarship on the concrete implementation of these institutions is scarce. Relying on nearly 15 months of fieldwork in six cities in China, we explain how the judicial cadre evaluation system, as unified by the 2011 “Guiding opinion of the Supreme People's Court,” has been implemented. Over 30 indices quantitatively measure Chinese courts’ “fairness” (gongzheng 公正), “efficiency” (xiaolü 效率) and “impact” (xiaoguo 效果), incentivizing court leaders to pressure their subordinate judges to resolve disputes as quickly as possible without unduly angering litigants or other actors. Under the hyper-quantified conditions of cadre evaluation, systemic praising and shaming bring about what we call “intra-state legibility,” which leads to a variety of informal worker reactions to these tactics. This study not only uses interviews and new documentary evidence to add necessary detail to our understanding of cadre evaluation systems, it also engages debates in comparative law and politics regarding bureaucratic influence on authoritarian judicial behaviour.

干部考核制度对中华人民共和国法官的行为的影响很重要, 而关于这两方面的社会科学研究到现在并不多。本文章根据所在中国六个城市、将近十五个月的实证调研说明 “案件质量评估体系” 在 2011 年最高人民法院指导意见下实践中的过程。在中国法院定量分析 “公正” 、 “效率” 和 “效果” 的程度时, 有超过 30 个指标激励法院领导和压力下级官员在解决纠纷时尽快判决、不过分激怒当事人或其他公民。干部考核制度也利用赞扬和批评方法激励下级法官, 同时从超定量 (hyper-quantified) 条件带来所谓的 “政府内部的易读性” (intra-state legibility), 该导致各种非正式的反应和工人战术。这项研究不仅采用访谈和新的书面证据提高我们干部考核体系的意识, 同时其对专政下的法官行为、官僚主义和政法的动态也有所涉及。

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